You are currently viewing The Late Autumn Shade Garden

The Late Autumn Shade Garden

How is your shade garden looking today? Does it continue to shine with a variety of colors and textures? Does it entice you to walk along its garden path on this late November day? Shade gardens are center stage for textures, various green hues, and exquisite leaf margins (Coleus has us in awe with all its shapes). Shade gardens are dominated by foliage, but a few plants offer great flowers which can brighten a shade garden, or it may the plant’s variegated foliage that lightens and brightens a shady spot in the landscape.

In the summer, we can add much needed color, especially white, with the inclusion of annuals such as impatiens or the various colors afforded by Coleus, as well as the line green color of Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’. Pulmonaria and Brunnera have varieties with variegated leaves that brighten a shady spot, are deer resistant, and have the most charming spring flowers. The flowers of Pulmonaria transition from pink to blue to purple, and those of Brunnera look very much like the delicate blue flowers of the Forget-me-not.

Japanese Anemone ‘Mount Everest’ has white, fluffy, luxurious flowers that balance upon thin, elegant stems. Their subtle movement in the garden with a soft breeze is charming and the white petals contrast beautifully with the green foliage dominating a shade garden.

And of course, hostas, of which many have white accents in their leaves. I may be going against the common thread of thought, but I enjoy hosta flowers. Some are quite substantial, and their white blooms draw you into the garden. And for those who are willing to do battle with the deer, and are planting with pollinators in mind, know that the bumble bees and hummingbirds are drawn to hosta flowers.

As autumn settles in, and with it frost which takes our annuals and some perennials out of the picture, what remains in your shade garden to add visual interest? This morning I spent some time in our shade garden and was impressed with how much of interest still remained. Tassel and Autum ferns look great, the St John’s Wort has great color, and the Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) looks lovely with its margins accentuated by a light frost. What really caught my eye was the Pennsylvania sedge. A native grass, this beauty requires very little supplemental watering, is deer resistant, and adds a unique form to the garden with its fine textured, flowing blades. They look like small waves in the garden.

Is your summer and late autumn shade garden inspiring you? If not, call us. Life is too short for boring gardens. 513.271.2332

Leave a Reply